The Assistant Director, Regeneration, Housing and Place explained that the purpose of the report was to seek views of panel members and aid a discussion which could lead subsequently to policy or strategy development.
The key issues were outlined as set out in the report.
Councillor de Whalley addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34.
The Panel discussed the report and a summary of the key issues/concerns are set out below:
· Adverse house prices – mitigate by providing opportunities for local people to buy local property. Councillor Morley stated that this should be considered as a separate item by the Panel.
· Tourism provided income to the Borough and supported businesses.
· Habitat Regulation Levy used to mitigate the increase in tourism and enable both visitors and residents to visit green spaces, etc.
· What could the Borough Council do to help local residents to alleviate the pressures identified within the whole Borough – rural, coastal and west of borough
· Lack of infrastructure.
· Standard of holiday accommodation.
· Role of Norfolk Coastal Partnership.
· Role of Wash and Marine Partnership.
· Increasing pressures in rural areas.
· Conservation Areas had not been reviewed, extra pressures on that part of the community.
· Fishing and Bird watching tourist attractions within the Borough, for example, Welney and associated pressures on the roads, etc.
· Encourage businesses to West Norfolk
· Car parking difficulties in all areas of the Borough.
The Chair drew the Panel’s attention to Section 2 of the report and asked for clarification on the table of figures and information within that paragraph. The Assistant Director, Regeneration, House and Place undertook to respond direct to the Chair.
Following questions from the Chair, the Assistant Director, Regeneration, Housing and Places explained that there was a proposal to establish a countywide tourist/countryside pressures group to bring together stakeholders and employ an officer in order that there was somewhere for Parish Councils who had concerns regarding tourism pressures to express their concerns and be supported towards routes to resolve the problem.
The Portfolio Holder for Business, Culture and Heritage explained that conservation areas were not within his remit. The Portfolio Holder commented it was important to recognise that there were pressures in areas of the county with growing tourist destinations and that more could be done by the council or wider county council in order to assist with infrastructure changes recognised by the Coastal Pressures Group and those same pressures are now being faced in land. The Portfolio Holder commented that the key word in the report was potential mitigation which represented an appetite with Norfolk Council and its partners to set up a pressure group.
In conclusion, the Portfolio Holder for Business, Culture and Heritage explained that the previous Coastal Pressures Group had identified the pressures faced by residents and stated that the next step as Cabinet Member was for himself to have discussions with Norfolk County Council and ask that the group be set up and that the Borough Council would play an active role.
The Panel adjourned for a comfort break at 6.13 pm and reconvened at 6.18 pm.